Chen was an employee at PayPal, where he first met Chad Hurley and Jawed Karim. Chen was also an early employee at Facebook, although he left after several months to start YouTube. In 2005, Chad Hurley, Jawed Karim and Chen founded YouTube, with Chen having the position of chief technology officer. On October 16, 2006, Chen and Hurley sold YouTube to Google, Inc. for $1.65 billion. Chen received 625,366 shares of Google and an additional 68,721 in a trust as part of the sale. As of 2018, the Google shares are valued at $729 million.
Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan. When he was eight years old, he and his family immigrated to the United States and settled in Prospect Heights, Illinois. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he studied computer science. He graduated in 2002. married Park Ji-hyun, who is now Jamie Chen, a Google Korea product marketing manager, in 2009. They live in San Francisco with their two children. One son was born in July 2010.
- In June 2006, Chen was named by Business 2.0 as one of "The 50 people who matter now" in business.
- He and Hurley started AVOS Systems which acquired Delicious from Yahoo! Inc.
- Chen was listed as one of the 15 Asian Scientists To Watch by Asian Scientist Magazine on 15 May 2011.
- Chen started the live streaming food network called Nom.com in 2016 along with Vijay Karunamurthy. In 2017, it was shut down.
- Chen was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln
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